Award winner immerses himself in OzWater’17

06 Jun 2017
Cliff Dredge of Clarence Valley Council won the Ozwater Conference Award for young water professionals, sponsored by the Water Directorate and AWA. He reports on his experiences.

On the 13th of April this year I was informed by the Water Directorate that my nomination for the joint AWA/Water Directorate Ozwater’17 Award was successful. The award generously included gratis registration to Ozwater’17, including the Young Water Professionals (YWP) program, and the cost of travel and accommodation. I was very excited to have been awarded this prize.

On 15th May, I attended the YWP program. The morning consisted of a site tour of Cronulla waste water treatment plant. The tour commenced with a presentation from Sydney Water which outlined their policies on energy management. After lunch we returned to the exhibition centre to watch presentations on leadership and digital emerging technology, and then we had a panel session discussing young leaders. In the evening I attended the welcome event, the hospitality was impressive to say the least and it also provided a comfortable environment to network. During an exciting first day, I learnt about Sydney Water’s approach towards a sustainable energy future, that leadership requires complex planning and reflection, and that leadership requires driving from the front seat.

Day 1: I began by attending the opening ceremony. This was again impressive with guest speakers and the official opening of Ozwater’17. For the remainder of the day I attended two workshops and spent time in the trade show. The first workshop proved to be interactive, discussing human centred design strategies. The second workshop, regarding digital water meter replacement for Melbourne, informed me of the challenges and importance around customer interaction. From the day I gained negotiating and listening skills, appreciating how important communication is for effective project management.

Day 2: I attended presentations all day and squeezed in some of the trade show. Some of my favourites included solar powered pressure sewage systems, intelligent sewage pump station control, leading edge sustainable estate development and energy management system benchmarking. I gained some valuable knowledge from the presentations and have been able to apply some of the practices used to my current role.

Day 3: I attended presentations and also ran around the trade show making sure I didn’t miss anything that was important to me and my organisation. Some of my favourite presentations included chloraminated water quality network modelling, big data analysis to hydraulic network modelling and rehabilitation of asbestos watermains. As I currently undertake the hydraulic modelling, I was able to learn a lot about water quality modelling and plan to undertake this modelling this soon.

Overall, the experience at Ozwater’17 is something I won’t forget. It was exciting for myself and is already proving to add value to my organisation. The presentations and workshops were highly informative, providing insight and knowledge for the future. The trade show was especially important, it allowed me to ask the many questions I had and meet traders face to face. It was also great to see how the large water utilities are leading the way with sustainable technologies and management practices. The ability to network face to face was something I knew would be beneficial, and was by far the most important aspect for me. Thanks to the AWA and the Water Directorate!

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